Saturday, August 30, 2008



Well, for the rest of us, the effect is only to remind us how fast time is moving along, faster with every passing year. But it also reminds us of something else: Much of industrial or technological development of recent decades, to say nothing of changes in music or entertainment, is of dubious merit. It drives the economy, which may be good enough, but it doesn’t do much to enhance the human condition.


E-mail is probably the best example of backward progress. The volume of communication has increased a hundred times, yet nobody can demonstrate that people know more, or that the world generally is better off, than before there was such a thing.


The cell phone is obviously handy when you get into trouble on the road and have a call a tow truck or AAA. But when so many drivers in traffic are talking on the phone instead of paying attention, you have to wonder what civilization has gained even if they don’t cause many accidents.

What possible good, for example, has come from the ability of people to take pictures with cameras hidden in phones or computers? That sort of thing is a gimmick.

Setting aside how stupid the claims are - if nothing else, email and built-cameras allow me to keep in touch with people all over the world far better than, say, snail mail does - Hering has written one of his best 'get off my lawn' columns in quite some time. I'm practically chortling over here.

The conclusion, however, is pure gold:

But while half of Americans living today may not have been around when Joe Biden first went to Congress, it is worth recalling that those who were around did not exactly live in caves or have to hunt and gather for their daily meals. [emphasis added]

That's just painful to read. Apparently he seems to believe the pinnacle of human achievement occurred in the 1950s.


UPDATE: Don't get me wrong; clearly, I am critical of lots of things that have happened in the last 60 years as well. However, I try to avoid making blanket statements about new technology and/or implying that there wasn't anything wrong with some mythical past time period. The world's more complex than that - and that's what Hering almost always fails to communicate in his editorials: Any sort of nuance whatsoever.


Eric Stoller said...

I'm surprised that Hering wrote this...especially since you two are registered (online) at Target.

Anonymous said...

That's just painful to read. Apparently he seems to believe the pinnacle of human achievement occurred in the 1950s.


I don't think that's what he meant at all...and I think you know better and just hate him for some reason that isn't clear to me. I often don't agreee with him, but your smug superiority smacks of immaturity.

Dennis said...

Really? What did he mean?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.